Netherlands -- Age of Consent
There was some discussion on your pages regarding possible new developments in the
First, the statement that the AOC is intended to go up from 16 to 18 is incorrect. This is
a confusion with one of the following changes that did take place, or are planned to take
place in the future:
* Since October 2000, it is a crime to have sex with a _prostitute_ under the age of 18.
* There are plans to increase the age under which pictures that contain a sexual behaviour
are _child porn_ from 16 to 18.
But despite these, there are no plans to raise the general AOC to 18 (at least not in the
Netherlands, see below).
There are changes in the Dutch laws to be expected. Especially, the current 12/16
will probably be changed to a flat 16. It has been approved by parliament earlier this
year, but I think that this was an approval of the principle, not of an actual law (the
abovementioned child porn law change is part of the same packet). Still, I fear that the
'complaint delict' will have only months to go.
A still greater threat to the Dutch AOC (at least for the likes of me who would prefer to
see it low) comes from the EC. There, a proposal has been approved by the European
Parliament that would criminalise forced sex with minors. The problem with the proposal is
that it counts 'seducing' as one of the forbidden methods of force - and since few
unforced sex takes place without seduction, it basically criminalizes the great majority
of sex acts that involve someone under the age of 18. The proposal will next be put before
the council of ministers (a meeting of ministers from all European countries, who will
have to all agree).
1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all, sex between an adult and a
young person between the ages of 12 and 16 is permitted by law, as long as the young
person consents. It may only be prosecuted by complaint from the young person or the young
persons parents. The question remains whether the public prosecutions department
would proceed to prosecute if the young person themself had consented and their parents
filed the complaint.
2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination, including labour,
housing, medical care and access to goods and services.
3. Allows homosexuals in its military. Dutch laws permit members of the armed services to
engage in consensual homosexual relationships when off duty and away for military
premises, be it with a civilian or a member of the armed services of the same or another
4. The Royal Dutch Air Force requires everyone entering the force to undergo an innovative
training program to increase sensitivity to Gays in the Air Force. The Dutch armed forces
appear to be the most sensitive to gays in the world, although the Army and Navy do not
have similar training programs.
5. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits.
6. Many cities have instituted Domestic Partner registrations for same-sex couples.
7. Offers many legal rights for same-sex partners, however it excludes the right to
Alternative Insemination for lesbian couples.
8. Allows homosexuals to adopt children.
9. On 12-19-00 the Dutch Parliament approved a bill converting the country's
"registered same-sex partnerships" into fully recognized marriages, granting gay
couples complete parity with married heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples will be able
to marry at city hall and adopt Dutch children. They will be able to divorce through the
court system, like heterosexual couples. The law is expected to take effect in April 2001.
COURT:1. The courts have interpreted the constitution to prohibit anti-gay
NOTE: 1. Lee van Dijke, member of the Dutch National Parliament and leader
of the national religious party is very anti-gay.
Netherlands - Pays-Bas - Países Bajos
I. Ages for legal purposes
Age of simple majority The legal age of majority is eighteen (18) years.
Age of consent for sexual activity
The legal age of consent for sexual activity has not been communicated.
[EDITOR: Later in this info, reference is made to sex with
a person between 12-16 as illegal. We do not believe this to be accurate. We
present it only because it is part of the worldwide policing organization that oversees
Age of consent for marriage
The legal age of consent for marriage is eighteen (18) years. When younger, the person
permission of the legal representative or the civil court.
Article 242 of the Penal Code
" A person who by an act of violence or another act or by threat of violence or
threat of another
act compels a person to submit to acts comprising or including sexual penetration of the
guilty of rape and liable to a term o imprisonment of not more than twelve years or a fine
fifth category. "
III. Other forms of child sex abuse
Article 244 of the Penal Code
" A person who, with a person who is under the age of twelve (12) performs acts
including sexual penetration of the body is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more
twelve years or a fine of the fifth category. "
Article 245 of the Penal Code
" 1. A person who, out of wedlock, with a person who has reached the age of twelve
(12) but not
yet sixteen (16), performs indecent acts comprising or including sexual penetration of the
liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than eight years or a fine of the fifth
Article 246 of the Penal Code
" A person who by an act of violence or another act or by threat of violence or
threat of another
act compels another person to perform or to submit to indecent acts is guilty of indecent
and is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than eight years or a fine of the
fifth category. "
Article 247 of the Penal Code
" 1. A person who, with a person whom he knows to be unconscious or physically unable
or to be suffering from such a degree of mental defect or mental disease that he is
incapable or not
sufficiently capable of exercising or expressing his will in the matter or of offering
performs indecent acts, or who, with a person who has not yet reached the age of sixteen
years, out of wedlock, performs indecent acts, or by whom the latter is enticed into
submitting to such acts, out of wedlock, with a third party, is liable to a term of
not more than six years or a fine of the fourth category. "
Article 248 of the Penal Code
" 1. Where serious bodily harm ensues as a result of any of the offences defined in
articles 243 and
245-247, a term of imprisonment of not more than twelve years or a fine of the fifth
2. Where death ensues as a result of any of the offences defined in articles 242-247, a
imprisonment of not more than fifteen years or a fine of the fifth category shall be
Article 248ter of the Penal Code
" 1. A person by whom, by means of gifts or promises of money or goods, by abusing
arising form an existing relationship or by misrepresentation, a minor of good reputation,
knows or should reasonably suspect to be a minor, is intentionally induced to engage in
acts with him or to submit to his performing these is liable to a term of imprisonment of
than four years or a fine of the fourth category. "
Article 249 of the Penal Code
" 1. A person who commits indecencies with his minor child, stepchild or
foster-child, his ward, or
with a minor, a minor servant or subordinate entrusted to his care, instruction or
liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than six years or a fine of the fourth
1.The punishment in section 1 is also applicable to :
2.a public servant who commits indecencies with a person submitted to his
authority or entrusted or commended to his supervision ;
3.a director, physician, teacher, public servant, supervisor or employee, in a
prison, State workhouse, State institution for the care and protection of
children, an orphanage, hospital, or a charitable institution, who commits
indecencies with a person admitted to such institution ;
4.a person employed in the health care or social care sector, who commits
indecencies with a person who, as a patient of a client, has entrusted
himself to his care or assistance. "
Article 250 of the Penal Code
" 1. A person by whose agency the commission of indecencies with a third person by
child, stepchild or foster-child, his ward, or by a minor, minor servant or subordinate
his care, instruction or supervision is intentionally brought about or promoted is liable
to a term of
imprisonment of not more than four years or a fine of the fourth category ;
2. Where the offender commits the serious offence by custom, the terms of imprisonment may
increased by one third. "
Article 250bis of the Penal Code
" A person who intentionally brings about or promotes, by profession or custom, the
or indecencies by others with third parties is liable to a term of imprisonment of not
one year or a fine of the third category. "
IV. Child prostitution
Article 250ter of the Penal Code
1."A person is guilty of traffic in persons and is liable to a term of imprisonment
of six years
of a fine of the fifth category where :
a.he, by an act of violence or another act or by threat of violence of another act or by
abusing the authority arising from an existing relationship or by
misrepresentation, causes a person to prostitute himself or herself or undertakes
any activity under any of the above circumstances where he knows or should
reasonably suspect that activity to cause a person to end in prostitution ;
b.he recruits, takes with him or kidnaps another person with the object of causing
that person to become involved in prostitution in a foreign country ;
c.he causes another person, where that person is a minor, to prostitute himself or
herself or undertakes any activity with regard to that person where he knows or
should reasonably suspect that activity to cause that person to end in prostitution ;
2.A person is guilty of traffic in persons and is liable to a term of imprisonment of
or a fine of the fifth category :
a.where he commits the offence jointly with one or more persons ;
b.with regard to a person who has not yet reached the age of sixteen (16) ;
c.where serious bodily harm ensues as a result of an act of violence or another act as
specified in section 1.
3.Two or more persons who jointly commit the offence of traffic in persons under the
circumstances specified in section 2(2) or (3) are liable to a term of imprisonment of ten
years or a fine of the fifth category. "
V. Child pornography
Article 240b of the Penal Code
1."A term of of imprisonment of not more than four years or a fine of the fifth
category shall be
imposed on a person who either disseminates, publicly displays, manufactures, imports,
transits, exports, or has in stock an image or a data carrier, containing an image, of a
act in which a person who clearly has not reached the age of sixteen (16) is involved.
2.A person who has such an image in stock is not criminally liable, where it has been
established that he uses it for scientific, educational or therapeutic purposes.
3.A term of imprisonment of not more than six years or a fine of the fifth category shall
imposed upon a person who, by profession or custom, commits any of the serious offenses
defined in section 1. ".
Article 253 of the Penal Code
" A person by whom a child under the age of twelve over whom he exercises legal
knowing that it will be used in or for the purpose of begging, hazardous artistic
work that is hazardous or deleterious to health, is surrended to or left in the control of
liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than three years or a fine of the fourth
International sex tourism involving abuse of minor children is prosecutable under the
1996 three Dutchmen have been tried and convicted for abuse of minors in the Philippines
Thailand respectively. The maximum penalty for child pornography was raised from 3 months'
years' imprisonment, 6 years in the event of financial gain, and the maximum fine was more
tripled. New legislation allows for provisional arrest, house searches, and criminal
investigations. Moreover, the authorities no longer must prove that a person possesses
pornography for the purpose of distribution or public display. The possession of pictures
behavior with minors itself will be sufficient cause for prosecution. The age of consent
Prosecution of adults for sex with minors between the ages of 12 and 16 only occurs upon
of a complaint by an interested party.
U.S. Department of State
The Netherlands Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
source:Dutch Association for the Integration of Homosexuality COC
For many years COC, the Dutch Association for the Integration of
Homosexuality has worked on the improvement of the Dutch sex laws.
The most important change was brought about in 1971, when clause
248bis was abolished. Until that time homosexual contacts between
people over 21 and under 21 years of age had been prohibited. For
heterosexual contacts the age-limit was traditionally at 16. In 1991 the
sex laws were amended considerably again, and in this change COC
played an active part as well. In 1987, for example, advocates and
opponents of liberalisation of the sex laws had been united under the
same petition. This petition was submitted to the Secretary of Justice
and was given due attention in the discussions in Parliament. By the
end of 1991 Dutch sex legislation was modernised. Some outdated
notions are no longer mentioned and the new act is in better
accordance with the current ideas on sexual relations. Without
discriminating on the grounds of gender, sexual preference or lifestyle,
the new act attempts to protect individuals against forms of sexual
violence. Rape within marriage has now become punishable and the
distinction on the basis of the victim's gender has been abolished.
Under the old act only rape of women (and only outside matrimony)
was considered punishable. Even so, the new act does not imply that
everything to which partners consent is permissible. In some instances
the new act takes protection against sexual violence very seriously,
particularly in situations where differences in power or authority
between partners are at stake. For instance, the law provides
additional protection for young people. It would not be adequate to say
that sexual contacts with a young person always involve abuse of
power. Yet it should be acknowledged that the general relation
between adults and young people is such that children may easily be
abused. For this reason the act includes special provisions for sexual
contacts with young people. In this brochure COC provides information
on the most important changes in the law and their effects on children
In various clauses new upper-age limits have been introduced. Since
the introduction of the sex act in the 19th century, two age-limits have
been in effect: 12 and 16. In the old sex act the twelve-year age-limit
was reserved for exceptional cases. Dutch law accepts matrimony from
the age of twelve after permission by the Crown.(i.e. by ministerial
decision) This age-limit made it possible, for example, for a man of 24
to have a sexual relationship with a girl of 14, provided they were
married. This was an exceptional instance, since any other sexual
contact with a person under the age of 16 was prohibited. The
discussion in Parliament over this point took an entire afternoon. Since
marriages at such early ages nowadays hardly occur, one could wonder
why any fuss should be made over this. The reason was that this point
created inequality between the sexes. Should any sexual contacts
between boys of 12 to 16 and men, or between girls of 12 to 16 and
women be prevented, where heterosexual relations may be legal
through marriage? Moreover it was realised that the upper-age limit of
16 was no longer tenable in this day and age. It took the Members of
Parliament a long time to work out a satisfactory arrangement. In the
new act both age-limits have been preserved, but they have been given
a new meaning. Ordinary sexual contacts (without abuse or force) are
absolutely prohibited before the age of 12, and totally permissible from
the age of 16. In the 'shady' area between 12 and 16 sexual contacts
are punishable only when a complaint is lodged. Prosecution can only
take place after charges have been made.
BETWEEN THE AGES OF 12 AND 16
At first sight the above stipulation does not seem to have any great
consequences. As long as no charges are made, the Prosecution is not
aware of the existence of a punishable sexual relation. But there are
other points that need to be taken into account, since the new act
differs in two respects from the old one: * not everyone is allowed to
make a charge; * the criminal investigation department's powers have
been restrained. Between the ages of 12 and 16 only the child itself,
his or her parents and the Council for the Protection of Children may
bring in charges. This means that initiatives of the criminal
investigation department are no longer in order. Should a neighbour, a
physician or a teacher make an accusation, the Prosecution is no
longer competent to investigate. Third parties need to contact the
parents, or if this is not viable (such as in the case of incestuous
relationships) the Council for the Protection of Children. If a charge
does not stem directly from the young person or the parents
concerned, this council acts as a buffer. The council assumes authority
in case the situation within the family has got out of hand or when
children and parents see no way of coping with the situation. Usually
the council will first try and find a solution with the help of social
workers and therapists. Should the council fail to see any feasible
solutions, it may decide to contact the Justice Department. It is clear
that under the new arrangement protection against sexual violence is
reasonably warranted. The new act provides young people with more
opportunities to end such situations: by contacting the police directly
or via their parents, or by contacting social workers. Sexual abuse and
intimidation frequently go hand in hand. Young people are often afraid
to end undesirable sexual relations for this reason. If force is used, or
if secrecy is insisted upon, threats uttered etc., the Council can
assume responsibility for the charges. The fact that a young person is
allowed to bring in charges against someone, is as unique as it is
important. In all other instances of legal protection it is the parents
who do this on behalf of their child. The new act sets great store on the
young person's personal view and volition. Take for instance a sexual
friendship between an adult and a young person, to which the parents
have consented. Even in this case the adult needs to be careful: (s)he
should make certain that the type of sexual contact does not have any
negative or obnoxious effects on the development of the young person.
This responsibility is taken seriously under the new act through a
'decided risk': the adult will not be prosecuted as long as the
relationship is mutually agreeable, but should the young person in due
course begin to feel uncomfortable about the type of contact, the adult
may still be prosecuted. There is no clarity with respect to the
situation where a young person and the parents are at odds about a
sexual contact with someone outside the parental situation. Should the
parents inform the police, even if the child wishes to continue sexual
relations, then the charges are nevertheless valid. The Justice
Department may decide to prosecute, but it is not certain if it will
indeed do so. In order to prove that a sexual relation exists, the Justice
Department will need the young person's co-operation. This type of
situation will only occur in disrupted family-circumstances.
Intervention through social workers and therapists seems more
appropriate here than legal action. Conclusion: the new sex act leaves
more room for the young person, the parents and the adult friends to
come to a satisfactory arrangement of a sexual contact. Nobody is
allowed to interfere as long as the situation is mutually agreeable, but
should problems arise, then the sexual relation is certainly punishable.
Note: Sexual violence against a young person is always punishable. Also
sexual contacts in dependency-relations are punishable (such as
between teachers and their pupils).
YOUNGER THAN TWELVE
Sexual contacts with children under the age of twelve are not
permissible. The Justice Department must investigate all complaints
and charges, even if lodged by outsiders. The moment evidence is
available with respect to the type of contact, the Justice Department is
free to prosecute. Even if the Act is unequivocally clear, daily life
always provides special and exceptional examples. What should be
done if the child has almost reached the age of twelve in cases where
child and parents are not prepared to co-operate in a criminal
investigation? Or where to draw the line in free sexual education? Or
what to do if the type of sexual friendship also has educational
elements in it so that it may be considered a teacher-pupil relation?
Even if the law is outspoken and strict, actual circumstances may
influence the decision as to whether or not to prosecute. After all, in
all cases the child's interests should be of paramount importance and
not the inflexible maintenance of criminal law. There is no saying how
the Justice Department will exert its authority. This may vary over the
course of time, and in the various regions. Increased awareness of
sexual violence is nowadays taken into account in assessing sexual
contacts. Improved co- operation between social workers and
therapists on the one hand, and the Justice Department on the other,
may lead to various approaches: sometimes the choice will be for
prosecution, sometimes for adequate help of the victim. Victim here
may also be read as 'the offender'. The law need not necessarily be
enforced, but may sometimes be seen as a preventive device.
Conclusion: Any sexual contact with children under 12 is always
punishable. In exceptional cases the Justice Department will not
prosecute, viz. if the child's interests go against prosecution. It is too
early for the time being to know what policy the Justice Department
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND DEVELOPMENT
The way age-limits have been reorganised in the new sex act reflects a
changing tendency in society, and is the result of a general change in
attitude in the population. All sexual contacts before the age of twelve
are punishable, not because such contacts would be considered
morally objectionable (as was the case in the formulation of the
previous version of the sex act), but because legislation is more
concerned about protection against sexual harassment than about
positive sexual experiences. 'The good suffer along with the bad'.
Children nowadays assume greater responsibility for their own
development. Good sex education and increased insight into human
relationships will help them assess a particular situation and recognise
sexual violence. For this reason the new act takes the child's own will
into account from the age of twelve.
Report of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
PART II - DEFINITION OF THE CHILD
14. The definition of a child in the Dutch Civil Code is in keeping with that of
article 2 of the Convention. "Minors are persons who have not reached the age of
eighteen years and are not and have never been married and have not been declared adult by
the application of article 253 ha" (Civil Code, article 1: 233). Since 1 November
1993 article 253 ha of Book 1 of the Civil Code has allowed minor women aged 16 or 17 to
have parental-authority of their child if they wish to care for and raise it themselves.
This is arranged through a declaration of adulthood issued by the juvenile court judge if
he considers this to be in the interests of both mother and child.
Age of civil majority
15. The age of civil majority is fixed at 18 years (Act of 1 July 1987, which
came into force on 1 January 1988).
16. If he acts with the consent of his legal representative, a minor is
competent to perform legal acts (Civil Code, article 1:234, as amended on 2 November
1995). This rule means that minors are competent to perform legal acts themselves provided
they have the consent of their parent(s) or guardian. However, consent may be given by
legal representatives (the parent/parents or guardian) only if they themselves have the
power to perform the legal act on behalf of the minor.
17. A legal representative may give consent only for a given legal act or for a
given object. It follows that a minor cannot be given full legal capacity by a general
consent. The requirement that consent for a given object must be in writing has been
abolished (as of 2 November 1995). Since the wording of article 1:234 was amended on 2
November 1995, consent is presumed to have been given to a minor to perform a legal act if
the act in question is one which is, according to common usage, performed by minors of his
or her age. Once it has been established that the legal act comes within this category,
the act is deemed to be performed with the consent of the legal representative and is
equivalent to a legal act performed by an adult. This most important provision ensures
that minors are able to act as an independent person in legal transactions in many fields
in accordance with existing practice. The aim is to take account of the greater
responsibilities accepted by young people and to acknowledge this in the acts of daily
18. The competence of minors to perform legal acts applies unless the law
provides otherwise. For example, a minor who has been given limited independent
contractual capacity by the court may exercise the powers of an adult, i.e. without the
necessity of obtaining the consent of the legal representative. Some other examples of
competence for which the consent of the legal representative is not required at all are
where a 16 or 17-year-old applies for the appointment of a special representative in the
event of a conflict of interest of a material and/or non-material nature between the child
and its parent(s) or guardian (article 1:250 Civil Code) or concludes an agreement for
medical treatment for himself/herself (article 7:447 Civil Code, took effect on 1 April
1995). Where children aged 12-16 are to undergo medical treatment, it is necessary to have
both their consent and the consent of their parents or guardian. However, the consent of
the parents or the guardian is not required if the treatment is clearly necessary in order
to avert serious danger to a minor aged 12-16 or if the minor well considered continues to
wish to receive the treatment despite the refusal of the parents to give consent (article
7:450 Civil Code).
Minimum legal age for the exercise of certain rights and obligations
(1). Consent to marriage
19. The age at which a person can lawfully enter into a marriage is uniformly
fixed at 18 for both men and women. This age requirement, which is the same as the age of
legal capacity, does not apply if a man and a woman are both aged 16 or over and the woman
lodges a doctor's statement that she is pregnant or if a child has already been born to
the parties concerned. In this situation priority is given to the manifest wish of the
prospective spouses to raise their child together. It is also possible to obtain a
marriage licence at a younger age on "serious grounds". In such cases the main
consideration is whether the prospective spouses are actually capable of taking
responsibility for raising the child.
(2). Voluntary enlistment in the armed forces
20. See under article 38
21. In 1995 any obligation to do military service was suspended.
As regards wartime, see under article 38
(4). Part-time work
22. This is dealt with in more detail under article 32.
(5). Full-time work
23. Under the Civil Code a person aged 16 or over has been able to enter into an
employment contract without the consent of his or her parents since 1 April 1997. However,
a child is obliged by law to attend school until the age of 17. This is dealt with in more
detail under article 28, paragraph 1 (b).
(6). Freedom to testify before the courts
24. Under article 203, paragraph 3, of the Code of Civil Procedure, a witness
who has not yet reached the age of 16 and a witness who is unable adequately to comprehend
the meaning of the oath is not required to take an oath. He or she is then warned to tell
the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If evidence is accepted in part on the strength
of the statement by the witness, the judgment must make particular mention of the reason
(7). Criminal liability
25. Young people who have not yet reached the age of 12 years when they commit
an offence (i.e. a criminal offence) may not be prosecuted. This means that in appropriate
circumstances a child may be arrested and asked by an investigating officer to give his or
her name. The child may also be questioned and searched and his or her possessions may be
confiscated. More far-reaching measures such as police custody and remand in custody are
not possible. In such cases the public prosecutor does not have a right of prosecution. If
charges should be brought, the court is required to hold that the case is inadmissible.
(8). Other legislation
26. The minimum legal ages which apply to the following subjects may be found at
the places in the text where these subjects are discussed:
- Compulsory education, see at discussion of article 28.
- Hazardous employment, see at discussion of article 32
- Deprivation of liberty, see at discussion of article 37 paragraph (a).
Sex tourism (added 3/3/01)
Residents of the Netherlands who commit a sexual offence abroad can be prosecuted in the
Netherlands. At the end of 1996, a Dutchman was convicted of sexual abuse of children in
the Philippines. In such a case, it must be a question of "double penalization":
the crime must be punishable both in the Netherlands and in the country concerned.
Europol is the organisation of the European Union which supports the police in the EU
countries in combating cross-border crime. Europol is now also going to intensively embark
upon combating trafficking in human beings. Trafficking in human beings usually concerns:
kidnapping people against their will and bringing them into prostitution. Dutch police
officers are stationed in a large number of cities in the world, such as Paris, Warsaw,
Istanbul, Willemstad, Bogota, Caracas, Brasilia, Islamabad and
Bangkok. These officials can also be deployed for investigating sexual offences.
New Information added 3/14/01 by EMAIL:
I've translated an article from my local Dutch paper into English. You will find it at
It mentions that the age of consent is about to change from 16 to 18. I have not heard
this info before and will keep you uptodate if I hear more.
I would also like to comment on the info about my country (The Netherlands) on your
site. While it is theoretically correct that no charges can be made against an adult for
having sex with a girl between 12 and 16, other then by the girl or her parents (also
applies to boys btw), you do make it sound a little too easy.
When I was 21 I had a sexual relationship with a 13 year old girl. When the
relationship was over a complaint was made against me by the people that had gotten
custody over the girl after she was placed out of her home. The only thing that saved me
was that I had both the girls and her mothers consent to have this sexual relationship at
the time this relationship took place. The police obviously had no interest in making me a
This was a number of years ago and since then there has been a strong increase in the
negative public opinion about adults having sex with minors. Where it was legal in Holland
until 1991 to own child-pornography, today a 20 year old having sex with
HIS POST (from http//www.angelfire.com/zine2/infopost1)
Intro: In Eindhoven and Waalwijk, youths recently where found to have been guilty of
bad sexual behaviour. The reaction of the adult community indicates that tolerance in the
area of sexual behaviour is decreasing, according to Klaas de Graaff.
Title: Sexuality is once more a burdened conception.
Body: Within the time of just over a month, the media have thrown themselves on unmoral
behaviour of children. An eleven
year old boy would, on the Eindhoven primary school "Klim Op", have touched two
twelve year old girls in an unacceptable
way. A month ago the papers headlines told that there would be a case of sexual terror by
youths in Waalwijk. Fifteen
students where to be involved. This group is claimed to have sexually intimidated girls
since primary school.
The impression was given in Waalwijk that there was a criminal organisation, operating
without restraint. In Eindhoven as well,
the boy in question, who was dismissed permanently from his school, got a label of
unpleasant, having crossed the borderline
and intimidating. In any case, the offenders in Waalwijk where guilty of rape, according
to the new meaning the law (Wetboek
van Strafrecht) gives to certain actions. Since a few years, rape also means the entering
of a body cavity with for example a
finger or an object.
Despite the fact that they crossed the borderline, I wonder in my frame of mind if the way
that was responded to the behaviour
of these young to very young people is at all fitting. The sexually exploring of own and
others boundaries belongs to the
development process that starts at a very young age. How the coherent behaviours are
consistent with what is or is not
acceptable, simply depends on the norms and values of that moment. Respect for the other
person is in any case a universal
value at all times, that also young people need to live up to.
Honesty requires that also adults will have to admit that during their puberty and often
before that explored their surroundings
on erotic matters. Despite the church being a guaranteed interference in the past (and
present), this institute could not prevent
that young people kept having sexual contact with each other. The confessions in my
estimation would be about that subject for
over seventy percent. If the youths came to close to the limits of the impermissible, then
some firm words or a spank would be
enough to get them back in line. Justice in any case would keep a long distance from
Sexuality and eroticism have become heavy conceptions once more, after a small revival in
the 1960's when The Netherlands,
along with some Scandinavian countries had thrown off the mask of hypocrisy. And in a
similar trend, the morality laws have
become increasingly repressive over the past twenty years. The age-limit for sexual
contacts between minors and adults, that
was moved to sixteen years in 1971, will soon be stretched to eighteen.
Even the director of the probation office, not too long ago, took on the shape of moral
monger when he spoke of
pedosexuality, while his institute is supposed to support delinquents with an acceptable
return into society.
Under pressure of parliament and society the police are spending an unreasonably large
number of hours on cases to do with
morality, weather it's child pornography, pedosexuality or unwanted sexual activity. The
irony in this lies in the fact that this
group of professionals the male public servants are guilty twice as often of sexually
intimidating their female colleagues as men in
other professions, according to the findings of research held last year. In the armed
forces, another machismo stronghold,
sounds like this are nut unfamiliar.
Often is forgotten that those that have had unwanted sexual experiences sooner become
victims of reactions from their
surroundings then from the deed itself. More so are they served by a balanced approach.
Opening a witch-hunt on the
offenders will in my estimation only cause an opposite effect of what is intended and
contribute little towards a desired result.
The consequences have already become apparent, considering the murder by a father on a
pedosexual man, that had already
served an extensive prison sentence and was working on his re-adaptation. Not only this
tragic case should put us to think. The
fact that the offender got complimented for his deed from several sides is representative
for the growing sense of
self-righteousness. A repetition of a similar self serving way of acting is easily within
grasp. The reaction of two readers in the
paper this week, that have more nuance in their views, gives some comfort.
New Infor confirms previous post from:
Sex with minors
Rape and indecent assault are naturally criminal offences regardless of
whether they are committed against adults or minors. However, a number
of other acts too constitute offences when committed against minors.
Intercourse with a minor under the age of 12 carries as heavy a sentence
as rape. Moreover, all forms of indecency with minors under the age of 12
is punishable (maximum custodial sentence: 6 years). Intercourse or
indecency with other persons who are incapable of determining their own
will independently is also a criminal offence. Such persons may have a
serious physical or mental handicap or have grave mental problems.
Sex with minors or incapable persons between the ages of 12 and 16
years is an offence that is punishable in the Netherlands only if a complaint
is lodged (articles 245 and 247 (2) of the Criminal Code). This means that
although such offences are punishable in principle, prosecution may be
instituted by the Public Prosecutions Department only after a complaint (a
request for prosecution) has been filed. This is in contrast to offences
which are prosecuted by the public prosecutors of their own motion. This
is because legal proceedings may not always be in the interests of the
minor concerned. The requirement of a complaint is intended to ensure that
the decision on whether to prosecute is not left solely to the public
prosecutor. A complaint may be lodged not only by the minor concerned
but also by his or her parents or the Child Care and Protection Board. If a
parent - or a step parent, foster parent, guardian, teacher or employer -
sexually abuses a child, the public prosecutor may prosecute without a
complaint. The functioning of the complaint requirement is under
investigation at present. On the basis of the findings, it will be decided
whether the age limit for the complaint requirement should be raised from
12 to 14 years.
Child pornography was criminalised by inclusion in the Criminal Code in
1986. The production, import, carriage, export and stocking of child
pornography is a criminal offence. The main aim is to protect children
under 16 who are depicted in the pornography. Prosecutions are brought
mainly to prevent production, dissemination and public exhibition. Priority
is given in this connection to cases involving commercial and professional
production. It is not a criminal offence to possess child pornography for
non-commercial purposes. The maximum custodial sentence was increased
in 1996 to 6 years. Whether possession of child pornography too should
be criminalised is under consideration.
Sex offences committed abroad may be prosecuted in the Netherlands.
This is now happening in practice: for example, a Dutchman was recently
convicted in the Netherlands for the sexual abuse of children in the
Philippines. The Netherlands stipulates that if an offence is to be
prosecuted the requirement of double criminality must be satisfied: in other
words the offence must be punishable in both the Netherlands and the
relevant country. One reason for the requirement of double criminality is
that prosecution in the Netherlands is partly dependent on the cooperation
of the authorities in the country concerned. This cooperation is not always
likely to be forthcoming if the offence is not deemed punishable in that
country. The Netherlands considers it therefore extremely important that
sex offences against minors be criminalised in all countries.